Buying links can come back to haunt you.
There was a time when black hat SEO techniques were used to generate significant money. Do you remember searching for content and receiving page results where there was no content – only the keyword phrase repeated over and over?
This was one of my first experiences with black hat SEO, and back in the day, people could get away with this. They would create “optimized” pages with no actual content, and would sell advertising. To this day I wonder about the revenue they generated by doing this; I imagine it was significant.
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Luckily for online content seekers, Google has improved its search algorithm to assure that type of content doesn’t come up in results anymore.
Of course, there are additional black hat SEO tactics that major brands are getting penalized for. JC Penney was the first to experience it and now Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation is getting penalized for buying bad links.
After reading this article from Search Engine Land about the situation, one main thought comes to mind: if you are working with an online marketing firm, make sure your contract specifically states that they will not use any black hat SEO tactics to build traffic. Websites do get caught, and they lose significant amounts of website traffic because of it.
Let’s take a lesson from the websites that have suffered from bad SEO practices. Let white hat SEO be the only strategy you use to drive traffic back to your website.